Why Do Cats Close Their Eyes When You Pet Them

Why Do Cats Close Their Eyes When You Pet Them?

Cats close their eyes when you pet them because they feel perfectly safe and happy.

They tell you that they trust you, so there is no need for them to pay attention to what’s happening around them.

It is also a sign of appreciation and affection, they are clearly enjoying what you’re doing and may even have chosen you as their favorite person.

Reasons Why Cats Close Their Eyes When You Pet Them

There are a number of reasons why cats may close their eyes when you pet them, below are the most likely ones:

1. They Are Completely Relaxed

Cats are naturally born predators, and despite their size, you can sometimes see them in action.

They like to play with their prey, whether it’s a toy or a small rodent.

cat enjoying being stroked

On the other hand, they constantly have to be alert so as to make sure that they are not being attacked by a dominant cat or a bigger predator. 

If you see your cat closing their eyes when you pet them, you can rest assured that they are feeling content and relaxed.

Otherwise, they would have continued to be alert.

2. They Are Showing You That They Like You

Trust is not something that comes easy to cats, and if you have ever owned a cat before, you probably know this.

It takes time and effort to earn a cat’s trust and affection.

It also takes some time for your cat to be adjusted to your routine, the way you interact with him or her, or the grooming schedule you have in place.

tabby cat eyes closed

If your feline companion feels safe in their living space and you’re someone they are quite accustomed to, they’ll want to express their love and gratitude.

After all, you’re doing your best at taking care of your pet.

There are many ways that cats use to communicate with their owners, especially with their eyes, we’ll talk about this later in the article.

In a nutshell, chances are that your cat really likes you or the way you are petting them if they close their eyes while you are doing it.

3. They Want To Mark You As Theirs

Cats have scent glands located both on their forehead and on their cheeks. 

For this reason, it is not uncommon for a cat guardian to notice that their pet rubs their head on the side of furniture or their favourite toys, for example. 

But what you might not know is that they tend to scent mark their favourite people in the same way.

ginger cat being stroked with closed eyes

Many cats mark the other cats they share their living environment with, but they exhibit the same behaviour with their human companions, too. 

In other words, your cat likes you to such an extent that they see you as belonging to them. 

If you’ve been to a friend’s home and you’ve petted their cat, your own will want to mark you as theirs when you return. 

And when they rub their cheeks on your hand, they’ll close their eyes both because they feel pleasure but also because they trust you enough not to have to keep their eyes open all the time.

Other Things Which Show That Your Cat Is Enjoying Being Petted?

Besides closing their eyes, cats can tell you they’re enjoying being petted by exhibiting other behaviours, such as the following:

  • Having a relaxed posture
  • Nudging their head against your palm
  • Kneading their paws (also known as making biscuits)
  • Keeping their tail upright
  • Rolling on their back and showing you their belly (they trust you completely)
  • Purring

Sometimes, cats open their eyes and slowly blink at you.

Many behavioural experts agree that this is a way your feline friend is trying to communicate with you and tell you they love you. 

cat rubbing against leg

Some very playful cats might try to nibble at your fingers as you pet them, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they have had enough of your presence. 

More often than not, it means that you can now move on from showering your cat with affection to more enjoyable and energetic activities such as playing with a toy, such as a laser pointer, fishing rod or catnip toy

When Should You Stop Petting Your Cat?

If your cat no longer wants to be petted, it’s best to leave them to themselves.

You don’t want to create any tension between the two of you, although most affectionate cats don’t tend to hold grudges.

But how can you tell that your cat has had enough? For one, their ears might move backwards and they might vigorously swish their tail. 

Angry cat in womans arms
Situations like this are best avoided!

They could also turn their head all of a sudden, blink exaggeratedly, or start licking their nose and looking right at you. 

Most cats that are aggravated just leave, but sometimes, they might try to swipe at you with their paws so as to tell you to stop what you’re doing.

In these cases, they might have wide eyes and dilated pupils.  

Where Do Cats Like To Be Petted?

The vast majority of cats like to be petted under their chin, on the forehead, or across the shoulders. 

Some can be a little sensitive on their backs (some cats can be slightly ticklish there), which is why they will try to get away from you if you touch that area. 

No two cats are the same when it comes to their petting preferences. While some like to be petted more roughly, others will rather appreciate soft and gentle strokes. 

cat with arched back being stroked

In general, some of the areas that you should avoid are your cat’s belly, as most tend to be ticklish there and you are likely to get scratched.

Petting your cat is a great way of telling them that you appreciate their companionship and that they mean a lot to you.

So don’t be afraid to pet your cat, especially after you have been away from each other for several hours.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Raise Their Back When You Pet Them?

Which Cat Breeds Enjoy Being Petted Most?

There are many friendly cat breeds in the world, which proves that the myth according to which cats aren’t affectionate is just this, a myth. 

We’ve selected several of these lap cats that would prefer to sit around you and be petted all day long rather than play or run around the house. 

Several other examples of affectionate breeds are the Abyssinian, Burmese, Maine Coon, Birman, and Persian. 


The Ragdoll is the very definition of a lap cat. Not only do these cats love to shower their owners with affection, but they’re also very calm.

ragdoll cat

It’s not uncommon for Ragdoll owners to say that their feline friends sit in the exact place they’ve put them. 

They also like to follow their owners around, so their behaviour resembles that of a puppy rather than that of an independent cat. 

Scottish Fold

This is a breed that thrives in the presence and companionship of people.

They love to engage in the same activities as their owners and they are known for creating powerful bonds with their pet parents. 

scottish fold cat

Their affectionate nature makes them highly appreciated by families and seniors. A Scottish Fold does like their routine, though, so they tend to get stressed if you move homes or do any remodeling. 


Siamese cats are both affectionate and playful, which means that they’re the best of both worlds. 

siamese cat

They’re fond of people, and they’re also quite intelligent, but they don’t take well to being left by themselves for too many hours during the day. So, unless you already own another cat, the Siamese might not be a good breed for you. 


Compared to other cats, the Sphynx loves nothing more than attention. 

This breed is playful, energetic, but also talkative, and many say that it has the temperament of a dog rather than a cat. 

However, they do have their needs as their virtually hairless coat means that unless they’re cared for properly, they can develop a wide range of skin conditions. 

Cornish Rex 

The Cornish Rex loves to sit in their owner’s lap, but they also love to climb and investigate as much of their living situation as possible.

These cats even know how to fetch! 

cornish rex cat

The breed is affectionate and loyal, and it is recommended for people looking for a therapy cat. They make particularly great companions for kids. 

Cats May Close Their Eyes For Other Reasons

Cats can close their eyes not only when you pet them — so not only when they feel pleasure and want to show you they trust you. 

They can squint, blink too often, or have red and swollen eyes, and all of these are worrying signs which should tell you that you have to get your feline friend to the vet clinic. 

Depending on the exact type of eye condition that a cat might be suffering from, they might not be able to open their eyes at all. 

levkoy cat with eyes closed

This happens in severe eye infections, which are both painful and inflammatory. 

Cats can also close their eyes due to injuries when blinking becomes severely uncomfortable, so they have to avoid it at all cost. 

Upper respiratory infections can sometimes affect your cat’s sinuses, so they are more likely to squint and close their eyes more frequently. 

Finally, cats also tend to close their eyes or blink slowly when they’re feeling tired, so you should leave them to have a well-deserved nap.

After all, it takes effort to be so adorable!  


If you see your cat closing their eyes when you pet them, you don’t have to worry about anything. 

Your cat is telling you that they like you, they trust you, and perhaps they want to be petted more.

They also feel safe, and at ease, so you’re doing a great job.